Category Archives: India

Home / Asia / India
12 Posts

The Middle East’s New Geopolitical Map » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

The Middle East’s New Geopolitical Map

by PATRICK SEALE

The Arab Spring is not the only revolution in town. The toppling of dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya; the mounting death toll in Syria and Yemen, where the outcome is still undecided; the revival of long-suppressed Islamic movements demanding a share of power; the struggle by young revolutionaries to re-invent the Arab state — all these dramatic developments have distracted attention from another revolution of equal significance.

It is the challenge being mounted by the region’s heavyweights — Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran — against the hegemony which the United States and Israel have sought to exercise over them for more than half a century.

When David Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence on 14 May 1948, he held the view that the country’s security could be assured only if it were militarily stronger than any possible Arab combination. This became Israel’s security doctrine. The desired hegemony was achieved by the prowess of Israel’s armed forces, but also by Israel’s external alliances first with France, then with the United States.

Military superiority won Israel outstanding victories in the 1948 and 1967 wars, a less resounding victory in 1973, still more contentiously by its invasions of Lebanon in 1978, 1982 and 2006, and more reprehensively by its operation of unashamed brutality against Gaza in 2008-9 — to mention only the most significant among a host of other Israeli attacks, incursions and onslaughts against its neighbours over the past several decades.

In its early years, Israel’s hegemony was reinforced by its so-called ‘periphery’ doctrine — its attempt to neutralise the Arabs by concluding strategic alliances with neighbouring non-Arab states such as Turkey and the Shah’s Iran. Its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt also proved a vital asset over the past three decades, since it removed the most powerful country from the Arab line-up.

The collapse of Soviet power in 1989-91 contributed to the Arabs’ disarray, as did the huge success of pro-Israeli Americans in penetrating almost every institution of the American government, whether at state or federal level, most notably the U.S. Congress. The message these advocates conveyed was that the interests of America and Israel were identical and their alliance ‘unshakable.’

Over the past forty years, the United States has provided Israel with sustained political and diplomatic support, as well as massive financial and military assistance, including a guarantee, enshrined in American law, of Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) – that is to say a U.S. pledge to guarantee Israel’s ability to defeat any challenge from any of its neighbours.

Even 9/11 was turned to Israel’s advantage in convincing American opinion that Palestinian resistance to Israel was terrorism, no different from that which America itself had suffered. There followed George W. Bush’s catastrophic militarisation of American foreign policy, and the invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq on fraudulent premises, largely engineered by neo-cons such as Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and their colleagues at the Pentagon and in the Vice-President’s office, concerned above all to remove any possible threat to Israel from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The United States has sought to protect Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly by harsh sanctions against Iran, because of its nuclear activities, as well as joint U.S.-Israeli sabotage operations, such as the infiltration into Iranian computers of the Stuxnet virus. Washington has turned a blind eye to Israel’s assassination of Iranian scientists, and has followed Israel in demonizing resistance movements such as Hizbullah and Hamas as terrorist organisations.

America’s most grievous mistake, however — the source of great harm to itself, to Israel, and to peace and stability in the Middle East — has been to tolerate Israel’s continued occupation and dispossession of the Palestinians. These policies have aroused intense hate of Israel in the Arab and Muslim world and great anger at its superpower protector.

We are now witnessing a rebellion against these policies by the region’s heavyweights — in effect a rebellion against American and Israeli hegemony as spectacular as the Arab Spring itself. The message these regional powers are conveying is that the Palestine question can no longer be neglected. Israel’s land grab on the West Bank and its siege of Gaza must be ended. The Palestinians must at last be given a chance to create their own state. Their plight weighs heavily on the conscience of the world.

Turkey, long a strategic ally of Israel, has now broken with it. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced it as “the West’s spoilt child.” In a passionate speech in Cairo, he warned Israel that it must “pay for its aggression and crimes.” Supporting the Palestinians in their efforts to gain UN recognition as a state was, he declared, not an option but an obligation.

Prince Turki al Faisal, a leading member of the Saudi Royal family and former intelligence chief, has publicly warned the United States that if it casts its veto against the Palestinian bid for statehood, it risks losing an ally. In a widely-noted article in the International Herald Tribune on 12 September, he wrote that “Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to cooperate with America” in the way it has since the Second World War. The “Special Relationship” between the two countries “would increasingly be seen as toxic by the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims, who demand justice for the Palestinian people.”

Last week, the American-brokered 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty — a key underpinning of Israel’s regional hegemony — came under open criticism from Egypt itself. The treaty was “not a holy book,” said Egypt’s prime minister, Dr. Essam Sharaf. It would need to be revised. Amr Moussa, the leading candidate for the Egyptian presidency, has called for the treaty’s military annexes to be reviewed so as to allow Egyptian troops to be deployed in Sinai.

As for Iran, denunciation of the United States and Israel can be expected from President Ahmadinejad when he addresses the UN General Assembly in the coming days. The failure to engage with Iran — demonising it as a threat to the whole world, rather than working to incorporate it into the security architecture of the Gulf region — has been one of Obama’s gravest policy mistakes.
Turkey, Iran and Egypt, heirs to ancient civilizations, are thus asserting themselves against what they see as an Israeli upstart. Saudi Arabia, the region’s oil and financial giant, guardian of Islam’s holiest sites, is breaking free from the constraints of the American alliance.

Israel stands accused. Will it heed the message or shoot the messenger? If true to its past form, it might well try to fight its way out of the box in which it now finds itself, further destabilising the region and attracting to itself further opprobrium.

As for the United States, bound hand and foot by Israeli interests, it seems to have abdicated the leading role in the Arab-Israeli peace process it has played for so long — but to so little effect. Disillusion with President Barack Obama is now total. Others must now take up the baton. Many believe the time has come to break the dangerous stalemate with some coercive diplomacy. Will Europe take up the challenge?

Patrick Seale is a leading British writer on the Middle East. His latest book is The Struggle for Arab Independence: Riad el-Solh and the Makers of the Modern Middle East (Cambridge University Press).

Copyright © 2011 Patrick Seale .

 

CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

CounterPunch Diary

A Volcano of Lies

By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

Barack Obama, who pledged to restore ethical honor to the White House after the Bush years, is now burying himself under an active volcano of lies, mostly but not exclusively concerning the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

There was scarcely a sentence in the President’s Sunday night address, or in the subsequent briefing by John Brennan, his chief counter-terrorism coordinator, that has not been subsequently retracted by CIA director Leon Panetta or the White House press spokesman, Jay Carney, or by various documentary records.

• The White House photograph of Obama, Clinton and top security advisors supposedly watching real-time footage of the Navy Seals’ onslaught on the Abbottabad compound, their killing of two men and a woman (excuse for the latter killing: the standard “caught in crossfire”) and liquidation of OBL himself turns out to have been a phony. BO and friends could have been watching basketball replays. Panetta has admitted the real-time video link stopped working before the Seals got into the compound.

• Panetta also admits Osama bin Laden was not armed, and that he did not hide behind his young wife’s skirt. He conceded that under military rules of engagement Osama should have been taken prisoner, but then added vaguely that he showed some unspecified form of resistance. He probably reached for his walking stick, since he has been ailing from kidney and liver problems. As any black or brown resident in, say, the purview of the  Ramparts Division of the LAPD knows full well, reaching for a walking stick or even holding a cell phone can be a death warrant; multiply that likelihood by a factor of 100 if you are the world’s most wanted terrorist  in front of a score of heavily armed and homicidal Navy SEALs, no doubt amped up on amphetamine.

An admitted fan of the herb, Osama may have been stoned as part of his pain management program since there was a marijuana patch outside in the allotment and, like any world star in retirement, Osama liked to smoke a lot of weed and made DVDs of important speeches which stacked up forlornly on the bookshelf next to the bottles of pills and the Koran, hoping to get picked up by Al Jazeera or HBO. How his lieutenants must have yearned for his summary martyrdom as they received his importunate bulletins that they derail a train during Obama’s State of the Union and other madcap schemes.

• The White House claims that issues of delicacy prohibit the release of photographs of Osama’s bullet-riddled face and required that after an alleged match with a relative’s DNA he be given a swift but formal sea burial in a weighted body bag dropped from the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson into the north Arabian Sea, presumably awaiting retrieval by salvagers with a fix on the Vinson’s position at the time of burial.

Maybe the Navy Seal photographer forgot to take his lens cap off. Obama’s claims of ethical sensitivity certainly ring hollow. He’s battling the wimp factor, and “Lo! The head of Osama” would be a nifty prop. There was lengthy display back in Bush-time of the mutilated bodies of Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay, killed by US special forces in 2003, plus filming of Saddam’s own execution by hanging.

Further back, when DNA matches were unknown, US special forces verified Che Guevara’s execution by permitting many photographs immediately post-mortem. They also cut off Che’s hands, for subsequent verification by the CIA. We’re not talking Miss Manners here.

• The official “back story” released Sunday night by Obama is that US intelligence learned of the Abbottabad compound only last August and spent the following months watching the place, following Osama’s trusted couriers and concluding that it was highly likely, though not certain, that Osama was there.

This is bunk. The three-storey house has been a well-known feature of Abbottabad. Shaukat Qadir, a well-connected Pakistan Army officer, reported to CounterPunch from Pakistan: “For the record, this house has been under ISI surveillance while it was under construction. It was first raided in 2003, and the ISI just missed capturing al-Libi (he was later captured by the ISI close to Mardan in K-P Province). It has been raided on numerous occasions since.”

Shaukat tells me that contrary to a report in the New York Times by Carlotta Gall on May 5, neither of the two trusted couriers were among the dead in the compound.

Shaukat: “The house where Osama had sought refuge belonged to two brothers from Mardan (a Pashtun dominated region of K-P) who had numerous aliases; locally they were known as Arshad (or Bara—meaning elder) and Chota (younger) Pathan, who have been residents of that house for seven years past. The rub is; neither one has been identified among the dead. If Osama was followed to this house by constant tracking of his courier who, according to CIA reports, shouldn’t one, if not both brothers, should have been present, shouldn’t they? But they weren’t. Of the seven bodies left behind (a female, a child and five men of ages ranging from mid-twenties to mid-thirties), none have been identified as being either brother…. “ Inference: “Osama was sold out. The operation was the result of entrapment. An entrapment organized through one or more of his most trusted aides…”

In fact, specific knowledge by US intelligence of the compound and its likely possible prime denizen goes back to 2005.

This has been established by Israel Shamir, also writing for CounterPunch. Shamir compares certain passages in the WikiLeaks documents on Guantanamo against those recently published by the New York Times and the Guardian.

Shamir reports these newspapers were working from the WikiLeaks files supplied to them (price unknown) by WikiLeaks’ former German employee, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, “who went AWOL after this appropriation”. Shamir says Domscheit-Berg made a deal with the Guardian which subsequently made a co-publication arrangement with the New York Times. “Both papers published the cables after redacting them, or should we say ‘censoring’ – removing everything the secret services demanded [they] remove.”

When Assange learned that the Guardian and the New York Times planned to publish the Guantanamo files, his WikiLeaks team also prepared the files and began to upload. So did the competitors, possessing the Domscheit-Berg appropriated copy.

The most important redactions by the Guardian and the New York Times, Shamir writes, “were  directly dictated by the US intelligence services. The name of Nashwan Abd Al Razzaq Abd Al Baqi, or by another name, Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi or by his number IZ-10026 was edited away from the file of Abu al-Libi (US9LY-010017DP) and elsewhere.”

This is significant because al-Iraqi was in close contact with al-Libi who had been designated by Osama in 2003 as his trusted, official courier, therefore aware of OBL’s whereabouts at all times. In the end, at separate times, the US captured both al-Libi and al-Iraqi, had them both tortured and thus became aware of al-Libi’s courier duties and hence the possibility that Osama was in Abbottabad.

Comparison of the redacted version of the Guardian and in the uncut version of WikiLeaks shows to what extent all the traces of al-Iraqi, the likely informer-under-torture, were removed at the behest of US intelligence. It was not connected to “caring about informers”, for al-Libi was understood at the time to have committed suicide in a Libyan jail just before the arrival of the US Ambassador in Tripoli. The file of al-Iraqi is missing in all databases; he was captured in 2005 and kept in various secret prisons, until transferred to Guantanamo where he remains detained.

So the trail to Abbottabad was known to the US intelligence services at least since 2005, when al-Libi was captured. “Careful reading of the file,” Shamir writes, “shows that al-Libi was connected with al-Iraqi since October 2002. In 2003, Osama stated al-Libi would be the official messenger between OBL and others in Pakistan. In mid-2003, al-Libi moved his family to Abbottabad, Pakistan and worked between Abbottabad and Peshawar. He maintained contact with al-Iraqi.”

We can conclude, from this narrative, that when the unredacted WikiLeaks files surfaced, US intelligence concluded that Osama’s associates would soon figure out that the Americans had made the appropriate connections and conjectures and there the associates urged him to move on with all due haste. So Obama decided to send in the Seals.

From this active volcano of lies, we can safely assume that Obama’s re-election campaign has been well and truly launched. Lift-off began on April 27 with the White House’s release of the long birth certificate. Obama seems to have problems with timely provision of convincing documentation about arrivals (his own) and departures (Bin Laden’s).

Release of the full birth certificate could have come in 2008, when it first became a minor issue. Instead Obama refused to authorize release until last week, by which time 25 per cent of all Americans and 50 per cent of all Republicans thought he was hiding something fishy. A photo of the dead Osama would have been useful this week in quelling speculation.

Had it not been for cloud cover over Abbottabad, the raid on Osama’s compound could have come on Friday, April 29, the same day as the royal wedding.

Saturday, April 30 was reserved for the attempted assassination of Colonel Gaddafi, with the dropping of precision-guided bombs on the house of his son Saif, who died along with three grandchildren. Saif, then four, was in the Gaddafi family compound on April 15, 1986 when bombs ordered up by Ronald Reagan were dropped from F-111s, killing his 15-month old sister, adopted by Gaddafi 11 months earlier.  Thus have Reagan and Obama shared a target. ‘Decapitation’ – going for the enemy’s top guy – is now standard Nato strategy. In the “shock and awe” assaults on Iraq in 2003, the prime mission of US bombers was to target whatever houses Saddam was presumed to be visiting. We can assume electronic eavesdrops or maybe a human observer told the Nato targeteers that Gaddafi himself was in the house that Saturday, and the bombers were swiftly dispatched from Nato’s Allied Air Command in Izmir, Turkey, whose overall commander is Lt-Gen Ralph J. Jodice II (US).

Would Obama have been briefed on the plan, or have signed off on a program of targeted assassination of Gaddafi? It seems a sure thing.

Reverse the rationale. If a Libyan bomber had blown up the wedding couple and a goodly tranche of the British upper crust in Westminster Abbey under justification that the whole place and its human contents, down to the grandchildren, not to mention the hats, were fair game because Cameron was there.

As the Oxford historian Mark Almond subsequently wrote in this site, “Little wonder, the royal newlyweds’ honeymoon was suddenly cancelled on Saturday. So much of William and Kate’s nuptials was choreographed around their parents’ and grandparents’ weddings that it was a fair guess that like Princess Elizabeth and Philip they were going to fly to Malta to start their honeymoon before going on to Kenya where three generations of Windsors have enjoyed cementing their relations. Malta is too close to Libya for comfort and Kenya’s Muslim minority might not be too friendly to a serving Nato officer.”

But Gaddafi survived. So Obama only had one bloodied feather in his cap when he gave one of the most morally repellent speeches I have ever heard delivered from the White House. Bush at least had the crude brio of a semi-literate jock when he vaunted America’s prowess. Obama’s “we nailed him” paragraphs of mendacity concluded with Dickensian Heepishness: “Tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history.”

Alas, the actual story of the “our history” is an unrelenting ability to lie about everything, while simultaneously claiming America’s superior moral worth.

Footnote: Peering briefly at the royal nuptials in a house high up in the mountains above Malibu, I was surprised to see how spectacularly tacky the British upper classes have become. They looked very vulgar. The appalling cuteness of the Aston Martin supplied the coup de grace.  The groom didn’t know how to stand up properly. Contrary to effusive comparisons,  the bride’s much touted dress from the atelier of the wildly overpraised late Alexander McQueen, was a far cry from Grace Kelly’s, designed by Helen Rose, who had dressed her in High Society and The Swan. The bride’s headdress hung like a dishrag.  The only vestments born with confidence and aplomb were those of the churchmen. The Archbishop of Canterbury, with his emphatic beard and specs, had a splendid cope. His voice was confident. I’d like to see him in debate with one of Teheran’s ayatollahs. But the Anglo actresses watching the event on our mountain were ecstatic. My daughter Daisy, returning to London two days later, reported that the young women she was encountering were all swept away by the event and eager for marriage.

De Valera’s American Parent

On Apr 24, 2011, at 1:19 PM, Danny Hallinan wrote:

Hello Alexander-

Many years later there were two things that made me think of writing you.  Reading your Diary on the Easter Uprising, a point of familial info.  Dev’s mom wasn’t American – his “Dad” – whatever – was.  His mother is my – and Ringo’s – great-great-grandmother’s sister.  A Cull from Ballingarry who returned a young widow from NY.  This connection is part of how I have an Irish passport.

The other random thought is that it was exactly 50 years ago that we met in London.  Aldermaston March 50th just a week or so ago, Yuri Gagarin 50 years, and Zill – a truly fine fellow.

Danny Barry (Shoot me like an Irish soldier) Hallinan

But that 1961 march wasn’t the first time I met the Hallinan boys from San Francisco – at least Terence (later the DA of San Francisco) and CounterPuncher Conn aka Ringo. It was on one of the earlier Aldermaston marches at the end of the 1950s, in the company of Konni Zilliacus’s daughter Linden, plus Saul Landau, who was traveling through Europe with C. Wright Mills.

When Prophecy Fails

From: Noel Ignatiev
Date: April 30, 2011 4:49:07 AM PDT

Dear Alex,

Re your Diary on cognitive dissonance and When Prophecy Fails Perhaps you know about the Miller-ites in the 1830s. William Miller prophesied the end of the world and even predicted the date, based on calculations he made from the Bible. He gathered thousands of followers in upstate New York (the “bruned-over district,” the 19th-century equivalent of California today) to give away their property and join him on the hilltops waiting. When the event did not take place, Miller said he had miscalculated, and announced another date a few months off. Again thousands believed him and readied themselves. When the second date passed uneventfully, the movement dissolved, but not quite: the original Seventh Day Adventists were disappointed Miller-ites, and they in their turn spawned health cultists who eventually developed techniques for preserving cereal grains. Kellogg’s in Battle Creek, Michigan was the result, starting out to save the world through nutrition, today just the manufacturer of Wheaties. T.C. Boyle tells some of the story in his novel The Road to Wellville, later made into a film. Characteristically American episode.

Best, Noel

Earthquakes in Kabul, Stasis in Iran

Our latest newsletter goes out this weekend, with brilliant reports from Patrick Cockburn from Kabul and Teheran. Patrick’s energy is boundless, notwithstanding the huge physical exertion imposed on him by an attack of polio in the mid-1950s – the last Irish epidemic before the Salk vaccine. But Patrick hauls himself from one war-torn location to the next, files his uniquely perceptive reports and finds times to co-write with his son, my nephew,  Henry a searing account, Henry’s Demons,  of the schizophrenia that Henry has endured and from which he has emerged across  the past eight years. It’s a marvelous book, with Henry’s contributions of a particularly searing clarity. Next week we will run some excerpts on this site.

Noticed how Fukushima has dropped out of the headlines again?  What to know what’s actually going on? In this latest newsletter  John Wilcox in Tokyo supplies a full update on the fall-out, the resistance to nuclear power, the maneuvers of the nuclear industry.

What do pwogwessives pray for each night? Just one really genuine “humanitarian intervention” they can wholeheartedly support. There have been so many disappointments – in the former Yugoslavia, in Iraq – but surely Libya was a safe bet! Doesn’t seem that way now, as NATO settles into its prolonged agenda of the destruction of Libya, and more slimy deals being hatched in Benghazi see the light of day. In our newsletter Jean Bricmont dissects the myths and illusion of “left” humantervention.

Subscribe now!

And once you have discharged this enjoyable mandate, I also urge you strongly to click over to our Books page, most particularly for our latest release, Jason Hribal’s truly extraordinary Fear of the Animal Planet – introduced by Jeffrey St. Clair and already hailed by Peter Linebaugh, Ingrid Newkirk (president and co-founder of PETA), and Susan Davis, the historian of Sea World, who writes that “Jason Hribal stacks up the evidence, and the conclusions are inescapable. Zoos, circuses and theme parks are the strategic hamlets of Americans’ long war against nature itself.”

Alexander Cockburn can be reached at alexandercockburn@asis.com

Now we understand why PayPal and Amazon cut their ties with WikiLeak, if the US public actually find out that those so called allies are the main source of funding of people who are determent to kill as many Americans as possible, then maybe they will not be that friendly to those pigs.

In the mean time, it is Iran that gets the attention of boththe US government and the US public as being number one nation supporting terrorism worldwide, how pathetic is that?

WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cashpoint for terrorists | World news | guardian.co.uk

WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cashpoint for terrorists

Hillary Clinton memo highlights Gulf states’ failure to block funding for groups like al-Qaida, Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba

    The terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab in Mumbai during the 2008 attacks The terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab walks through the Chatrapathi Sivaji train station in Mumbai during the 2008 attacks. Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the atrocity, is one of several groups that have raised funds via Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Sebastian D’souza/APSaudi Arabia is the world’s largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba – but the Saudi government is reluctant to stem the flow of money, according to Hillary Clinton.

    “More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups,” says a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state. Her memo urged US diplomats to redouble their efforts to stop Gulf money reaching extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide,” she said.

    Three other Arab countries are listed as sources of militant money: Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

    The cables highlight an often ignored factor in the Pakistani and Afghan conflicts: that the violence is partly bankrolled by rich, conservative donors across the Arabian Sea whose governments do little to stop them.

    The problem is particularly acute in Saudi Arabia, where militants soliciting funds slip into the country disguised as holy pilgrims, set up front companies to launder funds and receive money from government-sanctioned charities.

    One cable details how the Pakistani militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks, used a Saudi-based front company to fund its activities in 2005.

    Meanwhile officials with the LeT’s charity wing, Jamaat ud Dawa, travelled to Saudi Arabia seeking donations for new schools at vastly inflated costs – then siphoned off the excess money to fund militant operations.

    Militants seeking donations often come during the hajj pilgrimage – “a major security loophole since pilgrims often travel with large amounts of cash and the Saudis cannot refuse them entry into Saudi Arabia”. Even a small donation can go far: LeT operates on a budget of just $5.25m (£3.25m) a year, according to American estimates.

    Saudi officials are often painted as reluctant partners. Clinton complained of the “ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist funds emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority”.

    Washington is critical of the Saudi refusal to ban three charities classified as terrorist entities in the US.

    “Intelligence suggests that these groups continue to send money overseas and, at times, fund extremism overseas,” she said.

    There has been some progress. This year US officials reported that al-Qaida‘s fundraising ability had “deteriorated substantially” since a government crackdown. As a result Bin Laden’s group was “in its weakest state since 9/11” in Saudi Arabia.

    Any criticisms are generally offered in private. The cables show that when it comes to powerful oil-rich allies US diplomats save their concerns for closed-door talks, in stark contrast to the often pointed criticism meted out to allies in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Instead, officials at the Riyadh embassy worry about protecting Saudi oilfields from al-Qaida attacks.

    The other major headache for the US in the Gulf region is the United Arab Emirates. The Afghan Taliban and their militant partners the Haqqani network earn “significant funds” through UAE-based businesses, according to one report. The Taliban extort money from the large Pashtun community in the UAE, which is home to 1 million Pakistanis and 150,000 Afghans. They also fundraise by kidnapping Pashtun businessmen based in Dubai or their relatives.

    “Some Afghan businessmen in the UAE have resorted to purchasing tickets on the day of travel to limit the chance of being kidnapped themselves upon arrival in either Afghanistan or Pakistan,” the report says.

    Last January US intelligence sources said two senior Taliban fundraisers had regularly travelled to the UAE, where the Taliban and Haqqani networks laundered money through local front companies.

    One report singled out a Kabul-based “Haqqani facilitator”, Haji Khalil Zadran, as a key figure. But, Clinton complained, it was hard to be sure: the UAE’s weak financial regulation and porous borders left US investigators with “limited information” on the identity of Taliban and LeT facilitators.

    The lack of border controls was “exploited by Taliban couriers and Afghan drug lords camouflaged among traders, businessmen and migrant workers”, she said.

    In an effort to stem the flow of funds American and UAE officials are increasingly co-operating to catch the “cash couriers” – smugglers who fly giant sums of money into Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    In common with its neighbours Kuwait is described as a “source of funds and a key transit point” for al-Qaida and other militant groups. While the government has acted against attacks on its own soil, it is “less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks outside of Kuwait”.

    Kuwait has refused to ban the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, a charity the US designated a terrorist entity in June 2008 for providing aid to al-Qaida and affiliated groups, including LeT.

    There is little information about militant fundraising in the fourth Gulf country singled out, Qatar, other than to say its “overall level of CT co-operation with the US is considered the worst in the region”.

    The funding quagmire extends to Pakistan itself, where the US cables detail sharp criticism of the government’s ambivalence towards funding of militant groups that enjoy covert military support.

    The cables show how before the Mumbai attacks in 2008, Pakistani and Chinese diplomats manoeuvred hard to block UN sanctions against LeT’s charity wing Jamaat ud Dawa.

    But in August 2009, nine months after sanctions were finally imposed, US diplomats wrote that “we continue to see reporting indicating that JUD is still operating in multiple locations in Pakistan and that the group continues to openly raise funds”. JUD denies it is the charity wing of LeT.

US embassy cables: the documents | World news | guardian.co.uk